'I was digging in and digging in, making sure I wasn't over striding, that was important'- Mo Farah after winning the 10'000m final in Moscow.
Over striding is a flaw I see in the technique of many runners. Unfortunately there are too may runners who resemble the image on the left, rather than the image on the right. But why is over striding such a no no?
• Injuries - If your foot lands way out in front of your body, then all your force will be going through unstable joints. If you look at the green image, the hip, knee and ankle are all aligned meaning the force is absorbed safely, leading to less injuries.
• Speed - It sounds strange that a longer stride will make you slower, but that is the reality. If your stride length is long, like the red image shows, then your hip has to move forward significantly before you're back onto the toes and able to push off. This takes up time. So by taking shorter steps, you're landing underneath your body, meaning you're constantly ready to push off into the next stride.
• Technique - Shorter, quicker strides will encourage more of a mid-foot landing which is what you want as a runner. Over striding will create a heavy heel strike which will break momentum and possibly lead to more injuries.
So when you next run, try to take quick, short steps, rather than longer, slower strides. It may feel strange at first, but persevere as it will really help to improve your running on several levels.
Written by Marc Brown